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Melodic and accessible grime-encrusted death doom - 70%

NausikaDalazBlindaz, June 13th, 2010

If the cover art don't scare you shitless, you're welcome indeed to this debut album by the US deathened doom band Coffinworm (lovely name) which instructs one and all that the only decent thing for humanity to do on this planet we've polluted and wrecked is to die one way or another, preferably horribly, through something like a natural disaster or better still, nuclear annihilation or some other human-made folly like religion and false messiahs. Preferably with as much shit and grime as we can afford to hold before suffocating under all that ordure. For a band I'd only heard of recently, Coffinworm play a very melodic and accessible style of deathly doom metal with a strong deep sound and a lot of power. There are two sets of vocals that complement the music, one being deep and very death metal in style and incomprehensible gurgliness, the other more haggard and raspy as if the singer was already drying up into a mummified husk while his colleagues forge ahead with the music. Looks like Coffinworm are aiming at an audience that straddles both the mainstream side of death / doom metal and a slightly more underground level of the same: on the one hand, you've got definite song structures where vocals and lyrics dominate and drive the music but at the same time there's the attitude of make-a-change-go-kill-yourself in the lyrics and song titles which is sure to separate the sheep(le) from the true-believer outsider goats among us.

The album has a straightforward approach with very few effects apart from reverb which is added to both sets of vocals to render them more inhuman and malevolent. A clean production gives a sharp edge to the guitars and vocals though perhaps the drums are a little too much in the background and need to be more upfront in the mix, especially as the drummer is a no-nonsense player who concentrates on timekeeping duties and providing the necessary power. Some songs like "Start saving for your funeral" have a very strong driving rhythm that may alternate with slower, more doomy pounding riffs. I'm not too sure about the inclusion of short quiet passages that consist of just a lone thin guitar melody in amongs the huge blocks of crunching doom riffs and power rhythms in some tracks: I find these quiet bits annoying and disruptive to the general flow music, like unwanted hiccups. Perhaps if these quiet passages were longer and slowly built up to the guitar riffs, I would find them more acceptable.

Keep going and we come to "Spitting in infinity's asshole" and "High on the reek of your burning remains" which improve with more distinctive riffs and rhythms with some lead guitar venturing away from other instruments. The last track "The sadistic rites of Count Tabernacula" (a bit over the top, that title) comes close to noisy rock with long shrill guitar siren drones that hang in the air like sharp laser tines waiting to slash down on you.

The standard of musicianship is good, tight and consistent, the guys concentrating on getting their message across and not indulging in flights of solo instrument woffling fantasy that would weaken the songs' impact and bog down the flow of music. They probably could write more individually distinct songs with stronger melodies and riffs but at the moment they are concentrating more on getting their style and stand across. There are hints in later tracks that Coffinworm are capable of straying away from their melodic power grime death / doom style and experimenting with mood and the dynamics of their sound, going from loud to quiet and back, or from all-out power to something soft and then crunching down again, and perhaps on future recordings they should do that to vary their approach and give songs more individuality. Coffinworm might not be all that original but this is their debut album after all and it does its job of announcing them and showing the world what they're basically about. What might hold them back is their lyrics - they need to find more fresh and novel lyrical inspiration than what is covered here. We're all agreed that humankind has fucked over Earth so much the planet is no use to anyone any more and we should do it a favour and go extinct as fast as we can. Though not so fast that Coffinworm don't get another chance to show us what they're really capable of doing ...

Everything on Profound Lore fucking rules - 91%

CannibalCrepe, June 5th, 2010

Coffin Worm, hailing from Indiana, is one of Profound Lore's more recent signings, having put out their first full length upon hearing their demo, so the story goes. I can't remember where I read this, maybe their myspace, but their sound has been described as "South of Heaven on cough syrup." I was pretty sold at that point.

As promised, "When All Became None" is a gloomy crawl through a murky swamp of dead shit. As far as setting a dark, yet musical, tone goes, they nailed it. Between the droning repetition of massive doom riffs, the discordance of the 'leads', and the manic screams, it couldn't be more like you're crawling around in a cave. Another feature in their favor is that clearly they know the secret to keeping their songwriting fresh as there is a surprising amount of variety for a doom band in this album, including some uptempo parts.

Special notice should be given to the production on this album. Whomever was on the boards totally nailed the right sound for this music. The rhythm section rumbles beneath the surface, the guitars starkly glide, and the vocals tear through the darkness with an appropriate amount of reverb, as well as being layered perfectly into the music and not overpowering any of the other instruments. This isn't a hard one but an overpowering vocal track can kill the mood of a good doom album but assuming the levels are in the neighborhood of Aaron Turner's vocals on the last few Isis albums, for example, you're golden.

Don't sleep on this band. I recommend this album strongly as this is yet another brilliant addition to Profound Lore's absurd roster.